Digitally Alienated

Apathetic use of digital technology

These families were apathetic toward using digital technology. This lack of motivation was, however, due to larger forces at work. They were disempowered by the rapid digitalisation of society as they could not visualise themselves as part of, or profiting from using it. At the low end of the socioeconomic scale, and with limited education and access to sustainable work, parents had an off-grid mentality that was nostalgic for a natural, uncomplicated, and low cost lifestyle.

 

Culture of Digital Technology Use

While these families would consume leisure and entertainment, often from their phones or their Xbox, they kept their digital interactions with others and institutions to a minimum. They rejected increasing reliance on digital technology, not only due to cost barriers, but also that they could not visualise how the internet or digital technologies could benefit them. Unsurprisingly, there was little digital expertise at home, and little access to institutionalised networks of IT support. While parents may have had some ICT skills (having attending foundational courses offered by the government) they could not visualise how internet access, ICT and digital skills could be useful to improving their life circumstances.

 

Outcomes

Family members had low levels of participation online, and did not generally produce and share content with others, preferring to be offline. For these families who have little capital, and lack motivation to build digital capital, capital gains are unobtainable. Such families were largely excluded from digital society already, and risk further alienation with increased digitalisation.

 

Children in these families often did not know what they would do when they left school, and found it difficult to visualise how digital technology would be needed in their future work life as adults.